SAT Tip of the Week: Be Specific in Your Answer Choices

SAT Tip of the Week: Be Specific in Your Answer Choices

Once again there are two answer choices that seem equally alluring and dangerous.  You know your stuff: the answer is always in the passage, but as you look at the two choices with growing unease you remember both statements being discussed.  Which one is it? Which one is supreme!

This is a common situation that many students face during the reading comprehension section of the SAT.  The first and golden rule of the SAT reading section is that the answer is always in the passage.  If the passage doesn’t mention it, or accomplish the task that the question indicates, it is NOT the correct answer.  However, our understanding cannot stop here!  It is not just mentioning something in the passage that makes an answer choice correct, it is the presence of evidence to support that the answer choice is 100% true in the section being referenced.

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Our 2013 Predictions: How Did We Do?

Our 2013 Predictions: How Did We Do?

And just like that, a whole year has flown by again! Last January, we posted four predictions for the world of test prep and admissions. As fun as it is to make predictions, and it’s even more rewarding to look back at some point and see how we did. (“Oh my… We predicted THAT would happen?”) If you predict enough things, some of them will eventually happen, right?

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Converting Non-Terminating Repeating Decimals to Fractions

Converting Non-Terminating Repeating Decimals to Fractions

Last week we discussed the properties of terminating decimals. We also discussed that non-terminating but repeating decimals are rational numbers.

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GMAT Tip of the Week: Goodbye to “No, But...” and Hello to “Yes, And...”

GMAT Tip of the Week: Goodbye to “No, But...” and Hello to “Yes, And...”

It’s a new year, which is often a good time for a new mindset. And if you’ve already decided that 2014 is the year for you to get serious about graduate school, the “hard work pays off” mindset is one you’ve already adopted. So before the year gets too old and habits get too hard to change, try adding one more new outlook to your study regimen (and your life) this year:

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Your 700 GMAT Score is Relative

Your 700 GMAT Score is Relative

It has been said that everything is relative. Without getting too deep into the theory put forth by my friend Al(bert Einstein), your relative position and situation shapes your perception of things. A very common example of this is when students ask me “what difficulty level is this question?” I may find a question difficult and proclaim it’s a 700 level question. Another question seems more straightforward so I deem it a 500 level question. Granted, I have some credibility vis-a-vis GMAT difficulty level, but my opinion will be tainted by my relative strengths. I tend to consider arithmetic problems as simple and geometry problems as difficult primarily because of my personal preferences and abilities.

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Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
Is The University of Chicago the Right School for You?

Is The University of Chicago the Right School for You?

The University of Chicago is ranked number seven of sixty-one schools on the Veritas Prep list. It also appears among the top ten schools on the Forbes, US News, and ARWU lists. This Midwestern research university offers a variety of undergraduate degree programs, but a majority of campus students are enrolled in graduate degree programs. Situated in the famed Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, the mid-sized school is diverse with 56% minority students and 51% female students.

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Test Prep and Admissions: The Best of 2013

Test Prep and Admissions: The Best of 2013

There goes another year. Faster than you can say “99th-percentile instructors,” 2013 has come and gone, leaving in its wake a trail of excellent Veritas Prep blog articles. As we start to wrap up the year here at Veritas Prep HQ, wrap our Secret Santa gifts, and prepare to break in the new hires at our annual holiday party, we thought this would be a good time to share some of our biggest news and most popular articles from the past year.

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Terminating Decimals in Data Sufficiency on the GMAT

Terminating Decimals in Data Sufficiency on the GMAT

Last week, we discussed the basics of terminating decimals. Let me review the important points here:

-  To figure out whether the fraction is terminating, bring it down to its lowest form.

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GMAT Tip of the Week: No Resolution!

GMAT Tip of the Week: No Resolution!

So you have a few more days to commit to your New Year’s Resolution, and if you’re like most people you have something like 35 days until you break it. Resolutions don’t often stick, but if your New Year’s Resolution is to apply to business school in 2014, and if as part of that resolution you’re planning to get a high GMAT score, you’re in luck:

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Use the Synergy of the GMAT to Your Advantage on Test Day

Use the Synergy of the GMAT to Your Advantage on Test Day

When preparing for the GMAT, you may notice that studying for one subject makes you better in other disciplines as well. For example, practicing your algebra tends to make you better at algebra, arithmetic tends to make you faster at picking numbers and the entire quant section helps you significantly in integrated reasoning. This is due to the fact that many subjects overlap and have common elements. More formally, you can say that the GMAT is an exam with a lot of synergy.

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Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
Happy Holidays from Veritas Prep!

Happy Holidays from Veritas Prep!

Merry Christmas, and happy holidays from our Veritas Prep family to yours! We thank you all for another great year, and we are very excited for 2014. Many thanks to all of our loyal readers, students, instructors, and consultants for being a part of our team this year.

Take a break this holiday season, and treat yourself to some R&R before the next round of application deadlines!

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Filed in: Veritas Prep News
How Physical Exercise Can Help Control Your GMAT Test Anxiety

How Physical Exercise Can Help Control Your GMAT Test Anxiety

In the first part of this article we discussed recent research indicating that exercise is the only way to create new brain cells, protect existing brain cells, and form new neural networks. If that list is not enough, aerobic exercise is also an important component of healthy emotions and possibly even control of test anxiety.

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Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
How to Identify Terminating Decimals on the GMAT

How to Identify Terminating Decimals on the GMAT

We know the basics of decimals and rational numbers.

-   Decimals can be rational or irrational.

- Decimals which terminate and those which are non-terminating but repeating are rational. They can be written in the form a/b.

-  Decimals which are non-terminating and non-repeating are irrational such as √2, √3 etc.

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GMAT Tip of the Week: Become a Reading Comprehension Has Been (that's a good thing)

GMAT Tip of the Week: Become a Reading Comprehension Has Been (that's a good thing)

One of the things that makes Reading Comprehension difficult is the inclusion of so many words that you either don’t know or don’t spend much time thinking about. Triglyceride, germination, privatization, immunological.

But by the same token, certain words – those that you should think about regularly if you don’t already – can make your job exponentially easier. Consider, for example, these sentence fragments from the beginnings of official GMAT passages:

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How to Comprehend Reading Comprehension Passages on the GMAT

How to Comprehend Reading Comprehension Passages on the GMAT

The most common complaint I hear from students about Reading Comprehension is that the text is mind-numbingly boring. This is due to two common factors. First, the texts are frequently mind-numbingly boring! Second, even if they’re somewhat interesting, the fact that you’ve been staring at a computer screen for about three straight hours (not counting the two eight-minute breaks) means you’re likely not completely focused on the task at hand. In fact, many a student has confided in me that by this part of the test they were already dreaming of lunch at McDonalds (okay this may have just been my personal experience).

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Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
SAT Tip of the Week: How to Improve Your Timing When You're Stuck on a Hard Question

SAT Tip of the Week: How to Improve Your Timing When You're Stuck on a Hard Question

Before getting into test prep, I was a classical music composer.  I worked pretty long hours composing pieces for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, and symphony orchestras.  Sometimes I would run into writer’s blocks at very specific places in a composition.  I couldn’t decide which motive the oboe should play, or whether or not to double the counterpoint on the harp.  How I found my way out of such binds is also how I later found my way out of tough questions on standardized tests like the SAT.

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3 Tips to Score Well on the ACT from a 2340 SAT Scorer

3 Tips to Score Well on the ACT from a 2340 SAT Scorer

My name is Courtney Tran and I’m no stranger to academic rigor.  I’m a second year at UC Berkeley with senior standing, pursuing a double major and a minor. I’ve gotten straight A’s in all my classes so far. I’ve taught SAT classes for Veritas Prep for a year and a half, scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT, scored a 5 on the AP Calculus BC test in high school, and have tutored others in every core high school academic subject.  In spite of all my academic success, I made a few mistakes preparing to take the ACT test a few months ago (I took the ACT for “fun” just to see what I might get).  I’d like to share some of things I learned along the way and pass on a few tips!

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Filed in: SAT
Can You Find the Correct Answer to This Tricky GMAT Question?

Can You Find the Correct Answer to This Tricky GMAT Question?

This is hard to confess publicly but I must because it is a prime example of how GMAT takes advantage of our weaknesses – A couple of days back, I answered a 650 level question of weighted averages incorrectly. Those of you who have been following my blog would understand that it was an unpleasant surprise – to say the least. I know my weighted averages quite well, thank you! For this comedown, I blame the treachery of GMAT because it knows how to get you when you become too complacent. The takeaway here is – no matter how easy and conventional the question seems, you MUST read it carefully.

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GMAT Tip of the Week: Mental Agility

GMAT Tip of the Week: Mental Agility

The axiom has been tweaked and twisted so often that perhaps no one knows the exact term, but we all know the definition.

The definition of insanity is…
The definition of stupidity is…
(WAIT! Google confirms that it’s insanity, but you’ve probably heard it as any number of terms)

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Key Takeaways from the 2013 GMAT Summit

Key Takeaways from the 2013 GMAT Summit

This past Friday, key people from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) and representatives from various test prep companies came together in Los Angeles for the biannual GMAT Summit. The summit, which first ran in 2005, was created to improve transparency in the GMAT and to break down some of the most persistent myths around the exam. GMAC deserves a lot of credit for having a rather open-minded approach about test prep companies (We’re not steroids dealers, after all!), and the GMAT Summit is a great example of this approach.

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Filed in: GMAT
How to Manage Your Time on the GMAT

How to Manage Your Time on the GMAT

One of the most common misconceptions on the GMAT is that you have to solve every question in about 2 minutes. This of course stems from the fact that you have 75 minutes to answer 37 quantitative questions (or ~2.03 minutes per question) and 75 minutes to answer 41 verbal questions (or ~1.83 minutes per question). Both figures can be approximated to roughly two minutes per question on average; however, this does not mean that every question will take you 2 minutes to solve.

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Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
SAT Tip of the Week: 5 Ways to Write a Better Essay

SAT Tip of the Week: 5 Ways to Write a Better Essay

Twenty-five minutes to complete the essay portion of the SAT seems like an impossible feat, but with the right preparation you can tackle this task with ease. Writing an essay usually requires a great deal of time, information gathering, planning, and drafting, but you can still pull off a well-written essay that will give you the score you are yearning for.

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How Exercise Can Increase Your GMAT Score

How Exercise Can Increase Your GMAT Score

You may not know it yet, but there are simple things that you can do right now, that will help you to not only score higher on the GMAT but also succeed in business school and beyond. Getting exercise should be the first change on your list!

The New York Times has written extensively recently on the connection between exercise and brain health. It turns out that iPads, video games, smart phones, computers, even crossword puzzles…do not make lasting changes in your brain structure; only exercise does. So if you want to be better at answering the questions on “Jeopardy!” you should turn off the TV and go for a brisk walk.

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Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
Elementary, My Dear Watson!

Elementary, My Dear Watson!

While eagerly awaiting the kick off of season 3 of BBC’s Sherlock, let’s put our time to good use. Though we have already spent a lot of it speculating over what really happened to Sherlock (HOW did he come back?!), perhaps we can take a leaf out of his book and learn to notice little things in whatever is leftover. There is a good reason to do that – there are little clues in some questions that the test maker unwittingly leaves to bring clarity to the question. If we understand those clues, a seemingly mysterious problem could be easily unraveled. Let us show you with an example.

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GMAT Tip of the Week: Avoiding Writer's Block On AWA

GMAT Tip of the Week: Avoiding Writer's Block On AWA

While it’s certainly not the score you care about most, the Analytical Writing Assessment can bring with it some stress and even despair. Why? For one, it comes first on the test, and for two it’s the only section that isn’t multiple choice. The answer isn’t already in front of you, but rather you have to create it yourself. And like this blog post (author’s note – I’m attending a conference with the folks from the Graduate Management Admissions Council and have a dinner in an hour with some of our partners in the industry before the conference, so I have 30 minutes to write something intelligible here), the AWA can lead directly to that panic you’ve likely felt on blue book exams and the night before book reports: writer’s block.

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How to Solve Inference Questions on the GMAT

How to Solve Inference Questions on the GMAT

On the GMAT, there is often a fine line between a statement possibly being true and a statement always being true. Inference questions ask about which statement must be true, and often provide many statements that each seem to be correct. However, must be true is a high standard to achieve, and many statements fall short of this benchmark despite being perfectly reasonable assumptions on their own.

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Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
SAT Tip of the Week: Beware of Tricky Wording in SAT Math Questions

SAT Tip of the Week: Beware of Tricky Wording in SAT Math Questions

Many times, our talented and accomplished students report that they know all of the math concepts on the SAT and are fully capable of solving all of the problems.  However, they frequently complain that they make “dumb” or “careless” mistakes on the SAT and lose points.  While some of these mistakes seem silly in hindsight, many of the questions on the SAT are designed to lure students into tricks and traps or force errors if the students are not paying close attention to the wording.

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How to Effectively Study for the SAT

How to Effectively Study for the SAT

6:45 pm. It has been a long day, but you have a big test in history, a biology quiz to study for, and you are three days behind on your SAT vocabulary, so you sit down to begin your studying.  You start by opening your computer, just in case you need to do any research, and quickly check Facebook, Twitter, and Gmail, as well as looking at activity on your blog.

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Filed in: SAT
A Quick and Easy Adjustment for SAT Passage Questions

A Quick and Easy Adjustment for SAT Passage Questions

What is your typical method for solving SAT Passage-Based Reading questions?  You probably read through the passage, try to comprehend as much as possible while reading for speed and then when you get to the question, you try to read the question and find which answer looks the best, right?  Well, what if we told you that the method of “trying to find the correct” answer is actually very error prone and will lead you to be unsure of your selection and result in quite a few incorrect answers?

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Filed in: SAT
Hard Quadratic Equations

Hard Quadratic Equations

When faced with an unusual quadratic equation, some people waste a lot of time while trying to ‘split the middle term’. The common refrain is ‘I am just not good at it.’ Actually it has little to do with intuition and a lot to do with understanding how numbers work. If I am looking at a quadratic equation and am unable to find the required factors, I will go back to check my quadratic to see if it is correct rather than try to use the esoteric quadratic formula.

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GMAT Tip of the Week: Subconsciously Speaking

GMAT Tip of the Week: Subconsciously Speaking

Do some of your best ideas come while you’re driving, running, taking a shower or just about to fall asleep? Have you ever spent what felt like an eternity reading a solution over and over again to no avail, only to revisit that problem a few days later and know how to do it almost so intuitively that just feels easy?

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Biggest Discounts of the Year on GMAT & SAT Prep and MBA & College Admissions Consulting Services!

Biggest Discounts of the Year on GMAT & SAT Prep and MBA & College Admissions Consulting Services!

Here at Veritas Prep, we have a long list of reasons to be thankful this year!  From our students, to our incredible teachers and admissions consultants, it’s truly been an amazing year.

We are excited to announce that starting today through Monday, December 2nd we are making available our biggest discounts of the year on all of our services (discounts on MBA admissions consulting services will be available through  Wednesday, December 4)! Whether you are trying to hit Round 2 business school deadlines or are planning on taking the SAT next year, make sure to take a look at our discounts and register before these prices are no longer available.

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Avoid the Data Sufficiency Trap on the GMAT

Avoid the Data Sufficiency Trap on the GMAT

In Data Sufficiency, the GMAT is asking you to determine how much information is required to make a decision. If the information provided leads you a definite yes, then you have sufficient data to take decisive action. Similarly, if there is enough information to lead to a definite no, then you can also take decisive action. The only time trouble arises is when the information could lead to a yes or to a no; this situation leaves you in a position where you may have to guess (I’ll take Door #1, Bob).

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Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
SAT Tip of the Week: Avoid Traps in Sentence Correction

SAT Tip of the Week: Avoid Traps in Sentence Correction

The SAT is a standardized test, which means that it aims to be an objective measure of performance for test-takers regardless of whether the test is taken in October or May and regardless of which version of the test is taken.  The actual questions on the test might change, but the SAT needs to allow college admissions officer to confidently compare the score of a student who took the October SAT to the score of a student who takes the May SAT even though the two students will see different questions on the tests.

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A Surprisingly Easy Way to Choose Between the ACT and SAT

A Surprisingly Easy Way to Choose Between the ACT and SAT

“Should I take the ACT or the SAT?”  This question occupies the minds of high school students everywhere.  The ACT and SAT are standardized tests used in college admissions and almost every school will accept either one.  However, the tests are pretty different when it comes to format, content, structure and strategy.

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Filed in: SAT
What Do Relatives and Sentence Correction Have in Common on the GMAT?

What Do Relatives and Sentence Correction Have in Common on the GMAT?

The holiday season is upon us in much of the world, and in the U.S. there is a special holiday this year called “Thanksgivikkah!”  This is a combination of the words “Thanksgiving” and “Hanukkah” (The first full day of Hanukkah happens to be on November 28th this year – the same day as Thanksgiving in the U.S. This has never happened before and will not happen again in any of our lifetimes).

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Filed in: GMAT, GMAT Tips
The 4 Most Effective Ways to Learn SAT Vocabulary

The 4 Most Effective Ways to Learn SAT Vocabulary

The S.A.T.s are a longstanding rite of passage from high school. They offer the proof that you have what it takes to go to college. Being well prepared with good study techniques will better your chances of doing well on the tests.

The vocabulary portion of the test is perhaps the most confounding to students, primarily because they study the wrong thing. Their focus is on memorization of definitions, but the test goes beyond that to measure the application of that knowledge. Memorizing and knowing a word are two entirely different levels of understanding. The most effective ways of learning vocabulary go beyond memorization.

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Filed in: SAT
The Correct Use of Lists and Parallelism on the SAT

The Correct Use of Lists and Parallelism on the SAT

If you’ve been reading our articles, you already know that there are only so many techniques and tricks that the SAT can use to make questions difficult.  On the writing multiple-choice section, there about only a dozen grammar and style rules that you need to know in order to get a perfect Writing score.  On the SAT, it is particularly important to pay attention to one specific punctuation mark:  the comma.

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Filed in: SAT
Integrated Reasoning - Cumulative Graphs

Integrated Reasoning - Cumulative Graphs

Coming back to Integrated Reasoning question types, let’s discuss a cumulative graph today. They are usually a little trickier than your usual line/pie/bar graphs since you have to focus on not the data points but ‘the change’ from one data point to another.  Every subsequent data point will be either above or at the same level as the previous data point.

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GMAT Tip of the Week: Beware the Coincidence

GMAT Tip of the Week: Beware the Coincidence

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy, and amidst all of the memorial articles and TV specials and conspiracy theories, you’ll undoubtedly see that email forward that details the eerie similarities between the two presidents assassinated almost 100 years apart, Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln:

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